I have read quite a few comments on social media about the judging of the Landscape Photographer of the Year and thought I would add a few comments of my own.
Having not received an email from TAV I presume that I haven’t had any of my entries selected for the first shortlist. Am I disappointed? Yes. As a retired international lacrosse player and umpire I am more competitive than most as no one reaches the elite level of any activity without a high level of bloody mindedness and hard graft. However, my competitive streak is grounded by a level of sensible expectation where photography is concerned. I am not naturally creative but I have a passion for the outdoors and the beauty of our countryside which I try to express with my camera.
I am fortunate in that I have no desire to make a living from photography but I still want to produce work of a high standard that everyone can appreciate. Entering a competition like LPOTY makes me raise my game and look at my photographs with a much more critical and impartial eye. This year I chose my 7 favourite photographs which were hopefully also strong enough to stand the rigours of a national competition. At the moment these are the best that I can do but I hope to continue enjoying and developing my photography in the years to come.
It is through competitions, exhibitions and my website that I achieve the motivation to try and improve. My website is both a diary and a gallery to showcase my images but entering competitions requires a different mindset. I have to examine photographs to assess their technical quality and decide if they tell enough of a story to interest a critical judge alongside thousands of other entries. I live in hope that developing a neutral eye and more technical awareness when composing photos will continue to raise my level of work.
I use the word ‘work’ as that is the term used for a portfolio but I just love to be out on the coast or in the hills and for me photography isn’t work at all. I struggle to get up predawn but when I’m out on location and the weather conditions play nicely I find myself in an inspirational world that I don’t want to leave. I have realised that my awareness of the way light falls and the way that small details enhance a scene has increased which allows me to enjoy the landscape even more.
To sum up competitions are a means to an end in order to raise both my standards and personal profile. However my photography is for my benefit. I compose photographs that I want to take of scenes or details that inspire me but I want to make them as good as possible. Competitions help me to achieve this so to do well is a bonus. If I’m not successful there is initial disappointment but I know I’ve been pushed to do my best and any feedback will help me move on again.
There is no failure.